By Adnan Rafique
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and Ministry of Law & Justice successfully launched the Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Rules, 2022.
The ministries launched the rules in collaboration with Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights, and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Pakistan at the Islamabad Model College for Girls (IMCG), F-10/2.
Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Education and Professional Training emphasised the importance of these rules in upholding children’s rights and fostering a culture of non-violence. He remarked, “Let us work together to implement these rules effectively and create an environment where every child feels safe and nurtured.”
Rana hoped that these rules shall serve as the beginning of curtailing violence in schools and committed to writing to all provincial education ministries to follow suit. Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Azam Nazeer Tarar congratulated the stakeholders in getting the corporal punishment rules implemented.
He underscored that morals and values could not be imparted through coercion or punishment and remarked that it was a late step but in the right direction.
“The implementation of these rules from today shall serve as the building block in achieving our greater vision aimed at the well-being of our children; the ultimate future of Pakistan.”
He further pledged to fully support the cause of child rights and related legislation in future as well. The launch of the “Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Rules, 2022” marks a historic milestone in the relentless pursuit of protecting children from the scourge of corporal punishment within the capital territory.
These comprehensive rules which stand implemented from today onwards, fall under the “Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Act, 2021” reinforcing the commitment of the government and stakeholders to eliminate corporal punishment and create a safe environment for children.
The mover of the bill and Convener of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights and Parliamentary Secretary Law and Justice, Mehnaz Akber Aziz, in her address, outlined the significance of the rules and their transformative impact on the lives of children.
“Today marks a monumental step towards protecting our children and creating safe spaces for their growth and development. The launch of the Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Rules is a testament to our commitment to ensuring children’s well-being and upholding their rights. These rules will provide clear guidelines and enforce strict measures to eradicate corporal punishment from educational institutions and child-related settings throughout Islamabad. I hope this will also incentivize the currently 2.4 million out-of-school children to head to schools,” she added.
In her remarks, she recognized the support of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the Federal Minister for Education, the Federal Minister for Law and the then Speaker of the National Assembly in supporting this much-needed legislation.
She highlighted that the scope of the legislation covered public and private educational institutions, orphanages, juvenile justice systems, and formal and informal education institutes with the Ministry of Education being the overseer of implementation.
Representative of the UNICEF in Pakistan, Abdullah A. Fadil, in his remarks, said: “Corporal punishment can inflict immediate pain and suffering, and sadly may also cause irrevocable damage that can last a lifetime. We need to act now and put all our weight behind this Act so that all children in Pakistan are able to learn and grow in a safe environment and are protected in a society which respects and upholds their rights and dignity.”
Shehzad Roy, head of Zindagi Trust reaffirmed his commitment to campaign countrywide for raising awareness on the matter and emphasized on the need to change the mindsets of parents and teachers.
After formal addresses, a pledge-taking ceremony was held wherein heads of various education departments, heads of public and private schools, mardassahs, orphanages and SOS village vowed to implement these rules in their school in letter and spirit.
The launch ceremony concluded with a poignant skit performed by children, which further underscored the urgency to eliminate corporal punishment and create nurturing environments for the young generation.
The launch event witnessed the active participation of key stakeholders, including Ayesha Raza Farooq, Chairperson National Commission for Child Rights, Zamurad Khan, head of Sweet Homes Orphanage, representatives from the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, Ministry of Law & Justice, civil society members, media, dignitaries, stakeholders and school children.